March 8, 2020
Mendy Marsh, Co-founder and Executive Director
Support women and girls living through conflict and crisis
This #InternationalWomensDay we’re speaking up on behalf of women and girls caught in the world’s worst conflicts and crises.
Displaced from normal life, often with little food or water to survive, these women and girls are then at staggering risk of violence from a significant number of the men around them.
Research shows that disasters and displacement exacerbate violence against women and girls and that one in five refugee or displaced women have experienced sexual violence.
In humanitarian emergencies, violence is often used as a tool to push people out of their homes and communities; it’s used as a tool of warfare to break down communities and families.
Women and girls may have to walk by large groups of men to use toilet or shower facilities and, if there are no locks on the facilities, then women and girls can’t secure themselves when they’re bathing.
Often, food distributions are run by men without any women present. This leaves a lot of women and girls around a lot of men without any accountability or any way for them to make complaints or have increased protection.
So, from the moment she wakes up, a women or girl who has been displaced will often have to ask herself, “How will I stay safe today? What should I prioritize? How do I negotiate my day while also taking care of my family or my siblings?”
But it doesn’t have to be this way
Women and girls stay safer when those leading a humanitarian response are women themselves. Local women know exactly what their communities need, and get lifesaving supplies quickly and safely to those who need it most.
VOICE works alongside women living and working at the frontline of humanitarian crises, to drive through the changes needed to end violence against girls and women.
A woeful 0.12% of humanitarian funding goes toward tackling violence against women and girls, yet we know that we can prevent and address violence against women and girls.
We are calling for funding to go directly to women’s organisations working on the frontline of humanitarian response.
Together we have the power and the passion to transform the humanitarian sector. By lending our voices to advocate for an end to violence against women and girls, we can all affect the kind of change that makes our world a better place.
Give VOICE this International Women’s Day. Add your voice to our site.
- The Prevalence of Sexual Violence among Female Refugees in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Alexander Vu, Atif Adam, Andrea Wirtz, Kiemanh Pham, Leonard Rubenstein, Nancy Glass, Chris Beyrer, and Sonal Singh. PLoS Curr. 2014. March 18; 6. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.835f10778fd80ae031aac12d3b533ca7
- Where is the Money? How the Humanitarian System is Failing in its Commitments to End Violence Against Women and Girls. VOICE and the International Rescue Committee. 2019. June. https://voiceamplified.org/wheres-the-money/
Photo credit: Peter Biro